Your Church website is the “front door” to your ministry for guests, as well as a resource for those who are a part of your Church family. In fact, 100% of people will visit your website before visiting your Church (okay, we made that statistic up, but it is such a regular occurrence that you should design your site with that number in mind).
Having a well-designed online presence gives guests a taste of what to expect when they gather with you, gives them a glimpse of your culture and allows them to discover more about who you are and what you are doing.
While there are many more, here are our five quick tips for designing a website that attracts guests and visitors.
1. Realize There are Two Audiences
There are two main audiences that will visit your church website – and these two groups of people have vastly different needs. The first group are those who attend your Church. People in this group primarily visit your website to find out upcoming events, search for contact information for leadership teams, find the latest sermon notes/audio, discover volunteer opportunities and give financially.
The second group consists of people who are thinking about visiting your Church. Those in this group want to get a taste for your culture, see what ministries you offer (especially family ministries), find directions and service times, most likely watch part of a worship service on video (or listen to audio) and learn more about your beliefs.
It is important to design your website with both of these audiences in mind, although we always recommend designing it first with the guest in mind and then with a regular attendee. The reason is that someone who is already invested in your Church is more likely to navigate deeper into a website while searching for something they want where a guest wants to find it all quickly.
2. Give Visitors a Glimpse of Your Environment
Every Church is unique and different, which is amazing and needed but can also leave a guest wondering exactly what they should expect. Your website photos/videos and theme style should reflect the type of environment they will be entering. Is it formal or informal? Traditional or Contemporary? Large or Small? A long service or a short service? Let visitors know what to expect in your gathering so they are not surprised when they get there.
3. Make Service Times and Addresses Easy to Find
Your service times and address should be visible and easy to find on your homepage, and on the bottom/top bar of every page. This is the primary thing most guests are searching for, so don’t make them navigate to find it.
It’s also important to have an email and phone number listed as some visitors will want to find this information.
4. Present Your Ministries
Visitors want to know what kind of ministries you offer. Is there a place for their children? What about a nursery? Anything for their teenagers? What about other programming throughout the week? Are there small groups they can get involved in or a men’s and women’s ministry? You don’t have to give too much information here – instead give a good overview of what they do, when they meet and what to expect.
5. Have a “First Time Here” section
Create a clear page that visitors can navigate to that has all of the relevant information they would need to visit and answers some frequent questions: What time is service? What time should they arrive? Where will their kids be? What time should I arrive if I have kids? What should I wear? How long is the service? Where should I park? Is there a form I need to fill out to drop my kids off?
Think through the whole visitor process and make it easy to find so they can get all the information they need.
6. Get a “Critique” from Someone Outside your Church
Have someone visit your website as though they are planning to visit your Church (not someone who currently attends) and have them share with you what they found appealing, hard to find, a turn-off or other comments they may have.
Echo Your Story also can offer an analysis of your website and give you custom tips and resources especially for you. Get in touch!
7. Make Sure it is Mobile Responsive
Over 50% of people will visit your website on a Mobile Device. It is imperative that your website is mobile responsive, meaning it can be viewed on any device. Mobile responsive websites automatically change depending on what size screen you are looking at. You can check and see how your website responds on different sizes of screen by putting it into this website.
8. Bonus Tip – Get it Professionally Designed
Okay, a shameless plug for Echo Your Story here, but we really believe that your website can be a deciding point for someone who is choosing to visit you or not. We want to help you create a website that conveys the mission, vision and culture of your Church in a way that is inviting to guests and relevant to members.
Find out more about our Website Design Services.
We also can take a look at your website and give some tips on how to make it more guest friendly. In addition Echo Your Story specializes in the graphic design, video production, video announcement and print design needs for your Church.